Hunger Games Star Natalie Dormer on What It's Like to Train for Onscreen Battle and a Marathon, Simultaneously

Natalie Dormer is an action star—onscreen and in real life. She plays Margaery Tyrell on “Game of Thrones” and Cressida, a propaganda film director turned warrior in the “Hunger Games” franchise. 

Katniss may be a killer with a bow and arrow, but Cressida runs around with a machine gun. During filming, Dormer reported for work at 5 am every day to get her head shaved and fake-tattooed before embarking on 12-hour days of shooting battle scenes. 

“In ‘Mockingjay—Part 2,’ I’m basically running around in heavy armor while carrying a semiautomatic rifle,” she told SELF for her April cover story. “I don’t know how I would have kept up with [costars] Liam Hemsworth or Sam Claflin if I hadn’t been in the best cardiovascular shape of my life.”


For Dormer, training extended into her extracurricular activities. See, she’d signed up to run the 2014 London Marathon the same time she signed on to “The Hunger Games.” So after shooting, she’d work out at night, running hills and doing intervals at the local Atlanta gym, where filming took place. London was her first marathon, and she needed to be ready. “I actually look back on it now and think, F—ing hell, how did I do that?” she says. "My way of surviving it was a nap at lunch." 

Her drive is admirable, and with her ability to move non-stop, it's clear Natalie Dormer is a warrior on and off set. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. 

Read the full SELF profile here, and find the upcoming issue on newsstands Tuesday, March 31, 2015.